PHAYAO – Thai and western Tourists have been flocking to Phayao province during the winter season to see the blooming sunflowers.
Local residents from Pa Sang sub-district have grown sunflowers over 1,000 rai of land in Dok Kham Tai district. The sunflower orchard is available for entry free of charge.
Tourists visiting Phayao can enjoy the sight of other colorful flowers and recreational activities at the sunflower field, where locals have set up cafes and souvenir shops.
The orchard is situated on Phayao – Chiang Kham Road, which connects Phayao to other tourist attractions further North.
If you’re coming to Chiang Rai from Bangkok by land, the last city you will pass through before reaching your destination is “Phayao”. Once you reach Phayao city, you probably can’t tell if you are in the city of a province because the city is very quiet, small and not much of modern infrastructure to be seen. So far, Phayao is rarely visited by foreign tourist and backpackers but does remain quite popular with Thai tourists who flock to Northern Thailand from as far away as Bangkok.
While Phayao city has developed into a relatively modern town like Chiang Rai, much of Phayao region remains unchanged; the province retains its greatly unspoiled natural beauty, featuring both rice growing lowlands and substantial mountains where many hill tribe villages continue to live traditional lifestyles.
According to historic records, Phayao has been founded around 12th century AD and by King of Chiang Saen and it became independent state until it was ruled under Lanna Kingdom some time later. When Chiang Rai province was founded, Phayao was set to be one Chiang Rai’s district. In 1977 (18 August 1977, to be exact), it was appointed to be the 72th province of Thailand (now Thailand has 77 provinces).
As for activities, there is not much to do in town for the ordinary travelers, but it does make for a comfortable, relaxing base for travelers who seek for exploring the little know areas. The most famous tourist destination there is a huge lake called “Kwan Phayao” which is is the largest fresh-water lake in the North, and it is the third largest one of Thailand. Lakeside breezes help keep the city cool, and the sunset views across the lake to the distant hills from one of the excellent restaurants make at least an overnight stop here well worthwhile. As for the lake, there is no lake activities – so there is no wooden rowing boat rentals or canoes as most travelers might expect. Also no motor boat allowed because the authority doesn’t want any speed activities to ruin the fish habitat.
Phayao has very good reputation of having ancient temple and there are many of them in the province. Most of them are known to travelers. There is one small but well-know temples among Thai people lie close to the lake of which Wat Sri Khom Kham, with its heaven and hell garden, warrants a quick look. When you visit the lake, you should not miss this temple – it’s only 5 minutes walk to the lake.
Generally Phayao is also the most convenient stopover if you’re looking to break up the Chiang Mai to Nan journey, or are looking for an alternate “scenic” route between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. – Chiang Rai Bulletin